Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Today has been a fun day. The kids spent the morning with the men of the family while my mother-in-law and I worked on our part of the meal. Uncle Charlie suggested that they take the kids up to his job site and see the truck he drives every day at the mines. So, they had a field trip which gave them some good exposure to strip mining and big equipment. They found it to be pretty cool. You can see the trucks were gigantic. Apparently just one of the tires on Uncle Charlie's truck costs $40,000 to replace! Ryan's family has lots of history in coal mining and it was neat for the kids to get a glimpse of that world.

This afternoon lots of the cousins, aunts, and uncles were here for dinner. Ryan's daddy is one of 9 children, so there are always lots of kiddos around on the holidays. We spent the afternoon surrounded by lots of family and LOTS of food! Couldn't help wishing our little Abe was here to taste some of his Nana's chicken and dumplings or Aunt Stella's famous fruit salad- next year! Thought I'd include some photos of the day.

Pap and the Grands next to some BIG tires!

Isaac in the cab of Uncle Charlie's truck.

Lily showing just how massive the tires are.

Uncle Charlie giving Lily a boost up.

Isaac and his cousin, Christopher

Aunt Stella with "the babies."  Hudson and Eli are such cuties!
Lily and her beloved cousin, Chelsea

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No news is good news

Things here at the Campbell house are moving along.  We have no news on the adoption front, which we consider to be good news.  We don't expect to hear anything from our agency unless there is a problem.  So, this is one of those times when we don't want to see their number on the caller ID.  As far as we know everything is in place for our court date and we are hoping and praying for a smooth approval.  We can't believe that we are only 22 days away from our assigned date!

We are trying to finish our 10 hours of Hague training which must be completed before we travel.  We're learning about such fascinating topics as attachment and bonding, grief in children and institutionalized children.  You can imagine how fascinating that is.  I am however trying to multi-task and get my gift wrapping done while we watch the videos.  I want to be ready to shift to travel prep and baby purchases on the 17th!

While waiting we're enjoying the holiday season and all that it brings.  Here are some pictures of some things that have been going on in our world.

We got our first BIG snow of the season. I let the kids go out in it at 7:15, because I knew it would be gone by 8:30 AM. Don't laugh you yankees! We haven't had a measurable snowfall in Raleigh in almost 5 years, so we get excited about any and all snowflakes. The weatherman seems to think we might get a "real" snow this year. I say, bring it on!

Saturday we had Thanksgiving dinner at our house. We go to KY to Ryan's parents for Thanksgiving every year on the actual day. It's always very fun, but, they have tons of people there and so it's potluck style. I decided early on that I wanted the candlelight, carve the turkey, tablecloth experience for my kids too. So, the Saturday before Thanksgiving I always do a dinner for just our little family. This year my parents joined us since they now live in the area. The kids and I spent Saturday AM making napkin rings, place cards, etc. to add to the festivities. It was fun. Here are some of our creations.

Yesterday we did several Thanksgiving activities for school. I realized it had been several years since we had really discussed the real Thanksgiving story and so we did. The kids enjoyed making these edible teepees. I know, I know the Indians that helped the pilgrims didn't live in teepees. I made sure the kids knew that too. We even took a few minutes to look at the different types of Indian homes so I could avoid some "serious" historical misconception. However, I had seen the teepee idea on Family Fun and I knew they would love it, so we did it anyway.

We are traveling to KY tomorrow and we're excited. We have only been once since last Thanksgiving and Ryan wasn't even with us then. So, we're ready to go. Wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Pictures

We got a sweet surprise today.  The family who took our care package to Ethiopia arrived back in the States this weekend and today they sent us a few photos they took of him.  He was asleep when they got to him and they decided against waking him.  So, the photos are of him sleeping in his crib with the contents of our package lining the edge of his crib.  I wonder what went through his mind when he awoke and saw those items.  I wish that in some way he could know that we are coming and that we desperately miss him and that he is SO very loved.
We can see the photos of us in the crib with him, and it makes it seem so real.  At first, I was disappointed by the fact that he was asleep in the photos, but I quickly rebounded when I saw his chubby little thighs and his sweet hand outstretched in sleep.  Plus, I got a good look at all of those little black curls on the back of his head. It did my heart good to glimpse his peaceful expression and though Ryan and I both got choked up, it was a real treat.  This waiting is so stinking hard!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Who's counting?

Just in case you're wondering, there are exactly 30 days until our court day.  Saying that makes me want to vomit while simultaneously laughing, crying, and praying fervently.  I have never experienced this many intense emotions at one time for such an extended period of time.   We're trying hard to keep busy.  We've re-organized the garage and attic, almost finished the Christmas shopping, done multiple painting projects, and we are constantly extending the list to keep ourselves busy. 
We are not however ready for a baby.  We have no bottles, sippy cups, diapers, diaper bags, high chair, wipes, blankets, shoes, or most of the other items generally considered to be necessities for a toddler in the USA.   We do however have a decked out crib, some stinking cute clothes and several very beloved board books- what more do you need?   Okay, maybe you do need diapers.  I guess I'm a little afraid to go there yet.  However, if we do pass on the 17th and we do travel 3 weeks later, I will be insanely busy during the week of Christmas and New Year's gathering all of the items one might need.  What to do?  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why I Do What I Do

Ministry is hard.  Really hard.  Ryan and I have been in "full-time" ministry for almost 8 years now.  It's still hard.  Parts of it are harder than ever.   This past month it's been, well how shall I say this, um, how about hard!?!  
Ryan and I often deal with the really intense times by forming an escape plan.  It usually goes something like this... We'll move to some "safe" small town area where the cost of living is low.  I'll go back to teaching, Ryan will go back to banking, we'll eek out a decent living.  Once a week we'll teach a third grade Sunday School class and no one will ever have to know that we've spent the past decade immersing ourselves in children's ministry and all that in entails.  
Inevitably, before we can spring our plan into action, God uses some person, some scripture, some song to remind us of the big picture.  He brings to mind concepts like: eternity, perspective, and sacrifice to kick our tails.  We always end up hiking up our big girl panties, rolling up our sleeves, and returning to what we know we're called to do.  
Often in the midst of the tough times God allows me to see that there is SOME fruit from what we're doing and that it is possible to make a difference.   He reminds me that he can use my pitiful efforts to effect change.  Last Wednesday night, I got a sweet reminder of why I do what I do...

This sweet picture was given to me by one of the first graders I teach at church on Wednesday nights.  The text says, "Dear Mrs. Cristy thank you for leting me come to your class.  I love it because we here a Bible Story.  I love you.  Love Katie.  Thank you."  
Let me just say, thank you Katie.  You brought me just the reminder I needed last week.  You helped me to remember what is really important.  Oh, and Katie, I love you too!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Note to Self...

Next time you plan on taking one of your children to a developing nation, do NOT divulge information about the upcoming immunization appointment until your vehicle is parked just outside the doctor's office.  Lest you forget, the 24 hours before afore mentioned appointment WILL be painful with intermittent bouts of crying, anxiety, and change of heart concerning approaching travel.  However, after the 2 minutes of actual pain, you can expect 60 minutes of non-stop commentary on how it really wasn't so bad- to which you will have to routinely bite your tongue so as not to say, "I told you so!"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wild Week!

Last week we had the opportunity to send a package to our boy in Ethiopia.   Another traveling family was kind enough to take some pictures to him and promised to take pictures of him while they are there. We can't wait to see updated photos!

After our great news on Friday, we couldn't help but follow it up with a fabulous weekend. We were very pleasantly surprised to receive our court date assignment on Friday. We were so far down on the list of people who were waiting and the dates seemed to be coming so slowly, we had really resigned ourselves to waiting a long time. So, we were thrilled when Natalie called on Friday. We didn't have much time to process our news though as we had a busy weekend planned. Here are some of the highlights of our weekend:

Friday night we trick-or-treated and celebrated my dad's 70th birthday. My brother surprised my dad and came in from Louisville to spend the weekend with us.  We baked Pa a giant remote control cake as his favorite past time definitely involves a recliner and a sporting event.

Saturday we spent the day at a local tourism farm. They have a great "back forty" set up with all kinds of fun activities. We had beautiful weather and everyone had a blast.

Here are Ryan and the kids jumping on an enormous jumping pillow.  I think Ryan liked it as much as the kids!

Lily and Aunt Dawn had a great time riding in the cow barrels pulled by the ginormous lawn tractor thingy.  Dawn wasn't so sure it would meet any safety standards!

Grandma braved a ride in Susie Q!

Grandpa endured getting dumped out of the hillside tube slide.

Isaac and I had fun playing in the jumbo corn box.

Sunday, we all headed to downtown Raleigh to cheer Ryan on as he ran his first marathon. He beat his goal of 4:30 by about 5 minutes. We then gorged ourselves at the Olive Garden to celebrate his accomplishment. It took several dinner table conversations to convince the kids that daddy would be victorious just by finishing and that finishing first was not his goal. We were all very proud of him.

Go Daddy!
Crossing the finish line!

So, for the next few weeks, we are trying to complete a few projects before the holidays take off full force. We're hoping that we'll be following taking down the Christmas tree with packing our suitcases for our trip to Ethiopia!